Adventures in East Asia

National Museum of Singapore

As the oldest museum in the country, the National Museum of Singapore prides itself on introducing cutting-edge ways of presenting history. It does this within a fantasic, Neo-Palladian and Renaissance architecturally-styled building consisting of two rectangular parallel blocks and a dome at the front.


As we entered the rotunda at the front entrance, we faced the fantastic sculpture Love Tank (The Temple) by Indonesia artist S. Teddy Darmawan. It was pretty striking and I probably spent too much time trying to photograph it.


After viewing The Temple for free, we paid our entrance fee but didn't opt to see the special exhibition A Story of The Image which took up the basement galleries. The National Museum already had four Singapore Living Galleries to explore as well as the Singapore History Gallery.

We went up to the first floor and encountered a series of sculptures taking on traditional forms but given a modern twist.



We passed along the Glass Passage. You can just see the dome, which consists of 3,000 zinc fish scaled tiles and stained glass panels.



The first of the Singapore Living Galleries we went into was Photography - Framing the Family which presented one hundred years of history of the Singaporean family through family portraits, albums and collections of old photographs.


Across the balcony was the Singapore Living Gallery for Food - Eating on the Street. Singapore's street life from the 1950's to the 1970's was represented through the displays of food-related artefacts, video and sound installations.


Having eaten our way through Singapore so far, we recognised some of the cuisine explained as a result of the ethnic diversity and the cross-cultural exchanges.




Further back in this gallery was also a display of colour jars, some of which contained spices that we could have a sniff at.


The Singapore Living Gallery for Fashion - Shopping for Identity, explored the shifting look of the Singaporean women, also from the 1950's to the 1970's.




Finally, we popped into the fourth Singapore Living Gallery for Film & Wayang - Scripting a New Life. The bulk of the space was taken up by a three screen "cinema" but I found the massive puppet stage belonging to a Fujian troupe in the 1930s to be more fascinating.



We didn't know what to make of the Singapore History Gallery at first. Located towards the back of the museum, it just seemed to consist of a small round room. It actually turned out that the circular design led visitors down a circular path to the ground floor where the History Gallery took up the most space (2,800 square metres).


Entering the Singapore History Gallery, Linh and I were given multimedia handheld devices to accompany us on our exploration through Singapore's history from the 14th century to the modern period.


The gallery adopted a story-telling method that began on our walk down the circular path to the ground floor. As we progressed, we often had the choice to take one of two paths for each section. The Events Path traced the major events and characters that were part of Singapore's history whilst the Personal Path depicted the stories as seen through the eyes of the common folk.






When we came out of the Singapore History Gallery, we'd already spent a good few hours absorbed in the National Museum's displays, so took a short rest in the concourse area at the back.


The museum had a sprinkling of permanent installations around the building and I caught this small family watching themselves on the piece The Building Remembers / Remembering the Building by Matthew Ngui. The installation integrated with the existing architecture to create an anamorphous work using LED's and camera projections.


View more photos of the National Museum of Singapore on Flickr.

Visit the National Museum of Singapore website.

This entry posted in : Attractions. Culture. History. Singapore. Tourism.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
28/07/10  at  04:54 AM
Hi i am a student doing an academic presentation on national education. May i have the permission to use your 3 pictures from The Singapore Living Gallery for Fashion please?
I will reference your site as the source.
Thank you.
Kindest regards.
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
28/07/10  at  01:46 PM
Hi there. Sure, just reference this site as you mentioned.

Thanks for asking!

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
05/12/10  at  12:50 AM
Hi, I'm doing a project on Fashion trends in Singapore and I found your blog while doing research. Actually, I visited the Fashion gallery about 4 weeks ago but the pictures I took wasn't as clear as yours. May I use some of the pictures that you've posted here for my project? I will credit your site as the source. Thank you (^-^)
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
05/12/10  at  09:26 AM
Hi Ichigo - sure, just reference this site.



← Previous Entry Next Entry →